Monday, November 09, 2009
The Main Source of Your Unhappiness
Modern psychiatry tends to take a dim view of talking to yourself. But the Bible depicts talking to yourself as the epitome of mental health, provided you are saying the right sorts of things. Here’s what Martyn Lloyd-Jones has to say on the matter:
“The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.”
“The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God’.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression)
So grab a good cup of coffee, grab your Bible and then grab yourself by the lapels and give yourself a good talking to. Stop listening to your random fear-and-ignorance generated thoughts, and start talking to yourself, recollecting, rehearsing and recounting who God is, what He has done and what He has promised to do. True and lasting joy awaits those who will, regardless of present circumstance or situation.
If you would like to hear more on this I strongly recommend that you listen to this sermon by C. J. Mahaney. I have never heard a finer exposition of Psalm 42.